Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce Transactions

Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce Transactions

The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade has prohibited organizations and individuals involved in e-commerce business in the city from using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This follows a directive signed by the country’s prime minister intended to strengthen the legal framework of cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Banning Crypto Use in E-commerce

The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade announced on Saturday that it has sent document No. 1638 / SCT-QLTM to “organizations and individuals directly or indirectly related to e-commerce business in Hanoi [to] not use bitcoin and other virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies) to settle e-commerce transactions online.” Citing that if violations are detected, “they shall be strictly dealt with according to the provisions of the law,” the regulator wrote:

The Department of Industry and Trade requires organizations and individuals who are directly or indirectly involved in e-commerce business in Hanoi to strictly abide by the above-mentioned regulations and do not use bitcoin and other virtual currencies….in payment of e-commerce transactions, online purchases and sales, [and] payment [of] online services in contravention of Vietnamese law.

Vietnamese Law on Crypto

Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce TransactionsCiting provisions of the government’s Decree No. 101/2012 / ND-CP on non-cash payment instruments, the document reiterates, “bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies are not legal means of payment in Vietnam; The issuance, supply, use of bitcoin and similar virtual currency is prohibited in Vietnam.”

Violations are subject to a “fine of between VND 150,000,000 [~US$6,608] and 200,000,000 [~$8,810] for individuals and for organizations with two times the fine level for personal,” the document emphasizes. Furthermore, as of January this year, issuing and using cryptocurrencies “may be subject to criminal prosecution.”

Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce TransactionsLast week, the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc signed a directive to strengthen the management of activities related to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This follows reports of the country’s “biggest digital money fraud in history,” which duped approximately 32,000 Vietnamese out of VNĐ15 trillion (~$658 million). The police are currently investigating the case.

Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), and related agencies are working on the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, the number of bitcoin mining rigs legally imported into the country has skyrocketed since last year, prompting the department to propose a ban on their imports. Earlier this year, the department revealed that, in the first three weeks of January, almost 8,000 mining rigs were legally imported into the city.

What do you think of Hanoi prohibiting the use of crypto for e-commerce transactions? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Today’s the day you can go to Amazon Go—a store with no queues and no cash

Enlarge / „Let’s go shopping!“ „No, let’s Amazon Go shopping.“ „Dave, I hate your puns.“ (credit: Sam Machkovech)

After over a year of testing, Amazon will open its convenience store with no checkout queues and no cashiers, dubbed Amazon Go, to the public. The allure of Amazon Go is customers‘ ability to enter the store, put their items into their own shopping bags, and walk out. Amazon Go has no human cashiers to interact with, as all transactions are made wirelessly through the Amazon Go app and your Amazon account.

The online retailer announced Amazon Go in December 2016, opening its single location to Amazon employees only. Customers have to scan the Amazon Go app on a turnstile-like entryway before they can go into the store and shop. Once inside, customers can pick up any items they want—food, drinks, essential items, and even alcohol—and leave when they wish, without standing in a checkout line or interacting with a cashier. One of the few store employees will have to check your ID if you purchase alcohol, but otherwise you can leave when you’ve finished shopping and your Amazon account will be billed for the items you chose.

Amazon Go works thanks to an outfitting of special cameras, shelf sensors, and the company’s computer vision system that together monitor your actions in the store as well as the movement of items on shelves. The technology isn’t fool-proof, though, and it can get confused when the store is crowded or when items get misplaced in the store. According to a Recode report, these instances pushed back the debut of Amazon Go to the public. The company originally planned to open the Seattle location of Amazon Go to the public early last year.

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Amazon has made it more expensive to subscribe to Prime month-to-month

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. (credit: Steve Jurvetson)

Amazon on Friday announced that it has raised the price of its Prime membership program for those who subscribe on a month-to-month basis.

The plan previously cost $10.99 a month, but it will now cost $12.99 a month. That means the price of subscribing to the monthly Prime plan for a full year has jumped 18 percent, from $131.88 to $155.88. Those who currently subscribe to the monthly plan will see the price hike take effect on their first payment after February 18.

The e-commerce giant said it has also raised the rate of its cheaper Prime plan for students from $5.49 a month to $6.49 a month. The Prime Student plan launched this past October.

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